UC President, Nobel Laureates to Testify on UC's Importance to State Economy

Robert C. Dynes

University of California President Robert C. Dynes and five UC Nobel Prize laureates, including UCSF Chancellor J. Michael Bishop, will testify today on the effect that reductions in state support for UC will have on California's future. The witnesses will testify before the State Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education at 1 p.m. in Room 112 of the State Capitol in Sacramento. "State support for UC has spawned entire industries, created the breakthroughs that have changed how we all live and extended the opportunity of a world-class education to hundreds of thousands of students from all walks of life," said Dynes. "UC has played a key role in creating California's unique quality of life and keeping the state ahead of the curve, but declining trends in state support poses a serious threat. I applaud the committee and our Nobel prize-winning faculty for calling attention to this critical issue." In the early 1970s, UC received about one-half of its core academic budget from the state; today it receives about one-quarter or 27 percent. The hearing is the first of five the subcommittee will hold on issues affecting UC's ability to provide higher education, research and development, and health-care services. State Senator Jackie Speier, a subcommittee member who pushed for the series of hearings said, "The importance of UC to California is not fully understood, nor are the pressures that threaten to diminish the pivotal role it plays in powering California's economy, educating, innovating and saving lives. The insights of these Nobel laureates will demonstrate how important a strong UC is to not only to California - but to the world." The Nobel laureates who will testify at the hearing and attend a press briefing are: - George A. Akerlof, a UC Berkeley professor of economics. In 2001, he was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences for his work in describing the role of asymmetric information in causing market perversity. Akerloff will testify on the evolution of UC's contributions to California. - Paul D. Boyer, a professor in UCLA's department of chemistry and biochemistry. In 1997, he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry for pioneering research on enzymes. Boyer will testify on UC's need to remain competitive as a research institution. - J. Michael Bishop, chancellor at UCSF. In 1989, Bishop shared the Nobel Prize in medicine with Harold Varmus for discovering that normal cells contain genes that can cause cancer if they malfunction, a discovery widely credited with sparking a revolution in cancer research. Bishop will testify on the role UC plays in creating new knowledge and medical discoveries for the state. - F. Sherwood Rowland, a UC Irvine professor of atmospheric chemistry/radiochemistry and among first to warn that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the earth's ozone. Rowland shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for work on the formation and decomposition of ozone. Rowland will testify on the need for UC to remain internationally competitive. - Steven Chu, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is a Nobel Prize-winning scholar and international expert in atomic physics, laser spectroscopy, biophysics and polymer physics. Chu will testify on the unique opportunities UC provides for all Californians and its return on investment for the state. The UC system encompasses 10 campuses, three national laboratories, five medical centers, 208,000 students and 1.2 million living alumni. Forty-nine faculty and researchers affiliated with UC are Nobel Prize laureates, including 17 since 1995. Source: UC Office of the President

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